Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Feb 20, 2007 - When a French judge was interviewed by Radio Netherlands he was candid. Eric Halphen, vice president at the Paris municipal court, says that most French politicians are corrupt and there is not much anyone can do about it.
We meet judge Eric Halphen in a Paris café. He says corruption is everywhere in French politics. High and low, on the left and on the right. But convictions are the exception. A thief who steals a purse on the metro will be convicted to 18 months in prison, a politician who embezzles millions to a two-week suspended sentence. France has a real problem.

The judge knows what he is talking about. From 1991 to 2001 he was investigating the flow of illegal funds in the RPR, the predecessor of the current ruling party UMP. The alleged crimes were committed during President Jaques Chirac's term as RPR chairman and Mayor of Paris, the scene of the crime. Things went wrong when Mr Halphen wanted to call Mr Chirac as a witness in 2001: France's highest court ruled that a head of state can neither testify nor be prosecuted. The judge was removed from the case, resigned from the magistrature and became an author. However, last month he returned as vice president of the Paris municipal court.
Just in time for a vote to establish Presidential immunity while in office in the constitution.

The judge believes that barriers "are being created to protect the president from prosecution. Someone who committed a crime prior to being elected president will enjoy immunity for his entire term in office. A ruling president who runs over a child in the street cannot be prosecuted. The amendment is also being presented as a judicial reform, but that is not true either. No judges will be involved, in future politicians will decide whether a president must resign.

The judge believes presidential immunity is a symptom of France's corrupt political culture. "

What a surprise. And this, folks, is the model for the Democrat party.

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